The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reminding veterinarians across Canada to consider serious animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in their list of differential diagnoses.
The recent outbreaks of FMD in Japan and other Asian countries are strong reminders of the importance of spotting the disease early, and practising sound biosecurity when visiting farms.
“Early detection of contagious diseases such as FMD goes a long way in limiting the effects of an outbreak,” says Dr. Brian Evans, chief veterinary officer for Canada. “As veterinarians, we play a pivotal role in monitoring animals for FMD, and raising awareness of the disease among producers.”
FMD can have devastating animal health, economic and social impacts. FMD was last detected in Canada in 1952.
FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that affects a range of animals including cattle, swine, sheep and goats. Infected animals may exhibit signs of depression, fever, blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves, foot lesions and loss of appetite or milk production.
In Japan, it was a local veterinarian who first identified the signs of the disease and triggered the response to the outbreak.
On-farm biosecurity is critical to preventing outbreaks of contagious diseases like FMD. The recent FMD outbreak in South Korea began when a farmer returned home after visiting an infected farm in China. The disease was subsequently spread to five other farms by a local veterinarian.
For more information on FMD and animal biosecurity, including brochures, a poster and a biosecurity video, call the CFIA’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-442-2342 or visit the following CFIA web pages: www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/disemala/fmdfa/ fmdfae. shtml and www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/biosec/biosece.shtml.